Stealing Sunflowers (2017)
Available on Showmax and Youtube
News24’s 2017 documentary, Stealing Sunflowers, looks at events that took place in the town of Coligny in the North West last year.
On April 20 2017, two white men allegedly caught a 16-year-old boy called Matlhomola Moshoeu stealing sunflowers on a farm. They put him on the back of a bakkie, claiming they were driving him to the police station for theft, when he allegedly jumped off. An eyewitness claims Moshoeu was pushed.
After the doccie was filmed, the two men were found guilty of murder and their sentencing is scheduled for January 28 and 31 2019.
In the wake of the incident and boiling racial tension, the town exploded into violent protest, with businesses being ransacked and burnt.
The doccie profiles community members from both sides of the issue and highlights the socioeconomic inequality of the town. While the style is pretty straightforward and uninteresting, with no new narrative style pursued, the doccie succeeds in telling the story simply and consulting a variety of sources. South Africa is a hotbed of unrest and startling violence, so much of which is going undocumented. Stealing Sunflowers is not perfect, but it’s at least a solid form of reportage on a critical event that highlights so much of what we’re grappling with today – racism, persistent inequality and violence.
Say the film makers: “We got a first-hand perspective on living in a town where neighbours treat each other as strangers, and the community’s wealth is in the hands of a few.”